Everywhere I turn, I hear about someone who has committed suicide — all ages. And, I listen and watch as friends say good-bye to parents. My heart saddens with the news of my own friends passing on. This news is not random; it’s frequent and sometimes twice daily.
In your life, are you dealing with the emotions about losing someone special or hearing about your friends managing their loss?
As we all continue to grapple with the passing of loved ones and friends, we need to be sympathetic and empathetic in the workplace about these emotions. I’m not going to give tips on the best way to manage workplace situations because I’m really not qualified to do that.
This issue has been affecting me and bothering me more and more, especially because my college roommate just said good bye to both her parents. And, I have heard of four suicides by teenagers and fathers of young children (hitting very close to home).
In the workplace, when we hear our peers have lost someone special in their life, the doors open with sorrowful messages of condolence, and the recipient is too shocked to hear. When these people return to work and act “normal,” colleagues aren’t sure what to say or whether to bring up the issue. It’s awkward.
Then, after five months or so, when it really hits home that a loved one is not coming for dinner, making a phone call, or coming to your birthday party, more stages of grieving occur and stress rears its head with odd workplace behavior. Depression happens. It’s one day at a time to get through the raw sadness and grief. Time heals wounds slowly.
In our workplaces, we’re not prepared for the “onslaught” of the passing of an aging population. Coworkers are not trained in sensitivity around this issue. The challenge is that everyone deals with death in their own way. Which means nothing, really. That’s a mask of an excuse because EVERYONE is grieving. It’s how they show up to others that makes one suggest we all deal with death differently.
As our population ages and passes, will their families in workplaces be able to work efficiently? Will there be lost productivity? Will there be greater absenteeism? Should there be temp workers standing in the wings in the event that…?
For we who are small businesses and self-employed, this issue is out of our control. We don’t dictate when someone leaves our world to continue their journey elsewhere. We also can’t control the impact that loss has on our own ability to manage productivity and deliver quality service. But knowing there is no one else to carry the ball, we will get up and go…because there is no other option.
If anyone has thoughts to share on this, please do. I have no expectation how this topic will be received, but it’s been bothering me enough to write on.
(Post-Script: In searching for links to add herein, the author of one I selected has the same name of my dear friend I said good bye to this week. What are the odds? Rest in Peace Patricia Johnson.)